It’s January 13th 2018 and hundreds of entrepreneurs both young and old (but mainly young) are gathered in East London to consider anything and everything to do with starting a business. A great day with loads on on offer – so ‘pick and mix’ was the way to go.
The event was also refreshingly free from business bullshit and the hero-worshipping of edgy, sweary entrepreneurs spouting ‘awesome’, ‘cool’ and ‘disruptive’ all day. In no particular order (as they say on Strictly) I picked up the following tips by keeping my ears pinned back during the day.
- The recommended maximum number of questions and completion time for market research surveys is 22 questions and seven minutes (after that there’s a severe drop in response rates)
- Success in starting business is largely down to a combination of ideas, skills and persistence, and lot of them – 90% of business start-ups fail within a year, 47% of retail businesses survive for 10 years
- Making products is not business, selling products is the business
- Focus on your passions, understand the core mission of your new business, be clear why you are different from other similar businesses (the competition)
- The difference between masculine and feminine marketing is the difference between ‘hard sell’ and ‘heart sell’
- Talk to as many people as possible- share your ideas freely. Unless your product is technical, forget patents (they’re expensive) and concentrate on protecting your trade mark
- Get your products out there as soon as possible – stop talking, start selling – just do it!
- Write down 50 people you think should know about your new business, decide how you’re going to reach them, and tell them
- “Success is selling something that doesn’t come back to people who do” A cliche, but true.
- Work hard, be nice to people, do your research, know your customers, be prepared to sacrifice sleep
- Start small, never stop learning and the business will grow with you
- When you start out in business think about your definition of success – is it making money, making a difference, or what?
- Ideas are worthless, execution is everything
- In your business pitch start with the pain for your customers
- When you start business planning, list all your assumptions and test each one [before someone else asks you awkward questions]
- Mentors are great for keeping you on track and keeping you going, particularly at start-up stage
- The highs and lows are more extreme when starting your own business [rather than working in someone else’s]
- Know your strengths and [particularly] your weaknesses when starting a business
- Tough times at start-up stage can be a springboard for great business development
- Understand your brand, focus on the core of your mission, follow your passion, talk to lots of people
- Starting a business takes three times as long as you think it will
Further support from www.enterprisenation.com and http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/support-starting-business